News

FAA downgrades Thailand’s safety rating

2 Dec 2015 by Clement Huang
Thailand’s aviation industry has been dealt a significant blow after having its International Aviation Assessment (IASA) status officially downgraded from Category 1 to Category 2 by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The announcements comes following a thorough reassessment of the country’s civil aviation authority, which resulted in the US authority deeming that Thailand does not comply with the safety standards put forth by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). A Category 2 rating means that Thai carriers would still be allowed to continue operating existing services to the US, but not expand or establish new routes to the country. However, no Thailand-based carrier currently operates any flights to the US. Thai Airways did serve flights to North America, but was forced to terminate them over the past few years due to intense competition and less-than-impressive loads. The Star Alliance member finally retreated from the market altogether when it cancelled flights to Los Angeles on October 25. Thai Airways' A380 More significantly, the FAA downgrade could have a cascading effect on Thai Airways’ services to Europe. The aviation safety standards in the region are governed by the European Aviation Safety Agency, which may launch its own investigation to determine if European sanctions should be imposed against the Thailand aviation industry in response to the US downgrade. A ban against flying into EU airspace would be bad news for flag-carrier Thai Airways, which currently has a strong presence in the region. In particular, the London service is popular, with Thai Airways due to deploy the A380 on this route next summer. For more information, visit faa.gov and thaiairways.com Clement Huang
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